2023 Faculty


Roberto Bagnoli – Teaching Dances from the Balkans and Beyond

Roberto grew up in Rome, where he was first introduced to folk music and dance, eventually taking part in several performances and teaching dance classes. He subsequently studied various forms of folk dance in workshops throughout Europe, Israel, and North America under the guidance of renowned choreographers and teachers.

Roberto now lives in Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy, considered to have one of the most important dance communities in Italy.

From 1995 to 2003, he performed as a dancer and choreographer with the Terra di Danza Dance Company and was involved in the production of Raggi di luna Italiana and Capriccio Italiano (Italian dances), GiroGiroMondo (dances from around the world), Keltic Emotion (Celtic dances), Mazal Tov (Israeli dances), and Ethnos (international folk dances). He is the founder of Folk Atelier Reggio Emilia (FARE), devoted to the development and conservation of folk dance heritage.

As director of FARE, he is in charge of organizing and conducting folk dance classes, workshops with Italian and foreign specialists, and of the performing sector, staging various performances, parties, and dance gatherings.

In recent years, he has organized some of the most important annual folk dance events in Italy, such as, Balkanot Israeli and Balkan Dance Camp, Maratona di Danza folk dance marathon, and Camp Yofi Israeli Dance Camp in Lago di Garda. He has completed the training program in Folk Dance Teaching led by Jan Knoppers from the National Dance Academy of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Roberto teaches weekly classes in various cities in the North of Italy and conducts monthly sessions in Rome and Milan besides conducting workshops and seminars throughout Europe, the United States (notably the Stockton Folk Dance Camp), and Canada

Dances Roberto has taught include Ballo in Dodici, Bssanello, Cntradanza, Courento, Do Pasi, Falsa Moneda, Galoppa, Giga, Hora din Moldava, Joj Rado Joj Radmila, Jota Revolvedera, Mazurka di Sant’Andieu, Mazurka sor Cesare, Mineco, Passu Torrau, Saltarello, Sbrando, Scottis, Sor Cesare, Spagnoletto, Su Ballito, Su Dillo, Syrtos Kitrinou, Tarantella Bim Bom Ba, Tresso, Tu Romnie, Tumankuqe, Vajta n’Elbasan, and Valle e Mesme.

Joan Bennett and John Scott – Teaching Favorites from the International Folk Dance Repertoire

Joan and John have been active in the recreational Folk Dance scene — as dancers, teachers, DJs, performers, directors, and general community builders for over 50 years (15 of which were based in Austin)! They each discovered international folk dance in the early 1970s — Joan in Colorado and John in Northern California. Having started his dance career without Joan, John quickly saw the error of his ways when he moved to Oregon in the late 70s. Together they have danced, taught, programmed, and served on the board of dance organizations in several states.

Joan has had the privilege of being a featured instructor at folk dance camps and workshops in seven states. She has been a member of the regular teaching staff for the local international and Scandinavian groups wherever she lives. She has attended an embarrassing number of workshops and dance camps over the years and has partnered many instructors from Dick Crum to Graham Hempel to Germain Hebert. In the process of performing with three and directing two folk dance companies, she has arranged or choreographed seven dance suites.
Joan has a passion for good, clear teaching and has spent her career engaged in teaching both adults and children — as a corporate trainer, organizational development specialist, and historically, as a classroom teacher. She has always believed in playing-it-forward, and her master classes for folk-dance teachers and dance DJs or programmers have been a helpful addition to many dance groups.

Joan’s partner in life as well as on the dance floor, John Scott assists Joan when teaching Scandinavian and other couple dances. John is an accomplished dancer, performer, teacher, and a contra-dance demon. He also happens to be a favorite dance partner of both beginning and advanced dancers. Besides dancing, John is a drummer and percussionist of Balkan, contra, and other folk music.

These days, you can find Joan teaching and dancing with Salem (OR) IFD and Hoolyeh Folk Dancers on Zoom and attending most dance festivals in the Pacific Northwest. John is active in the lively contra dance scene up and down the West Coast, and together they dance and teach with Norske Runddansere in Portland, OR. When not dancing, they are entertained by Razmus the dog and two cats, attending music and other cultural events, and enjoy the natural wonders of the Oregon mountains and coast.

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, when you dance with Joan & John, you will laugh, learn something new, and share some quality smile time. They are excited to have the opportunity to share their passion for dance and fun at Texas Camp 2023!

Shirley Johnson – Teaching Folk Songs for Everyone

Shirley grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. immersed in her Croatian heritage. At the age of ten she began her accordion studies. Throughout her childhood she performed music and dances as a member of various Tamburitza groups. Shirley played prim on the album “Croatians, Dances They Dance,” produced by the Duquesne Tamburitzans Institute of Folk Arts.

College took her to North Carolina. As a member of the Duke University Chorale she had the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall and Disney World.

In 1979 Shirley traveled to Czechoslovakia with the Pittsburgh Area Slovaks. There she accompanied them on accordion at folk festivals in Detva and Senec as well as on Czechoslovak TV and radio.

After college she began dancing international folk-dances and became acquainted with the music of other European cultures. Thanks to the East European Folklife Center, which sponsors workshops devoted to Balkan music, Shirley learned techniques specific to those countries from expert accorionists and singers.

While living in Durham, North Carolina, Shirley directed the women’s folk group “Djevojke,” was a member of the German Oktoberfest band “Holzhackern”, and sang in seven productions produced by the Triangle Open Theatre. She also played accordion for the North Carolina Theatre’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” She studied voice with Professor Martha Flowers.

In 1995 she was awarded an Emerging Artist grant from the Durham Arts Council and recorded her first solo CD, “Blood Red Rose- Transcending Boundaries: Songs from the Heart of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia.”

From 1992 to 1994, living in Rome, Italy, Shirley sang with the “Coro Misto” of “L’Accademia della Filarmonica,” performing throughout Rome, including St. Peter’s Basilica, Italian radio and TV, and at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II’s “Papal Concert to Commemorate the Holocaust.”

Since moving to Austin, Texas in 1996 she has performed in concerts, on radio and TV, in clubs, restaurants, festivals, and private parties. For a brief period, Shirley played accordion with the Indie rock band, “The Invincible Czars”, including a showcase at the 2004 South by Southwest Music Festival. Shirley is the accordionist on “The Happytones Play Politics” CD and for Scott Morgan Biggs’s 2005 short film “Hills Like White Elephants.”

In the summer of 2005, Shirley produced her second CD:”Where to Now? Folk Music from Many European Lands.”

In March, 2006 Shirley presented a workshop on “Balkan Accordion Styles” at the National Accordion Association Convention in Dallas, TX and again in September of that year at the Wilmington Accordion Festival in Delaware. Later that year she performed music from her Croatian heritage at the San Antonio International Accordion Festival. She has performed for various folk dance clubs in Texas, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh, PA. In spring of 2009 Shirley was the accordionist for the Austin Lyric Opera and University of Texas Butler School of Music production of “La Curandera.”

While maintaining a regular performance schedule, in July, 2009 Shirley began teaching accordion, hoping to pass on her knowledge and love of her instrument and music to the next generation.

Shirley is a well-known and well-loved part of the Texas Camp family. Whether leading her renowned singing classes, serenading campers during dinner, or kicking up her heels at the Bruceville Roadhouse, Shirley is sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Don Weeda – Leading the Camp Band

Over 40 years ago, Don Weeda — a pianist by training — picked up the accordion for the first time, and a love affair was born. He shortly thereafter discovered the world of Eastern European folk music and promptly resolved to try to learn as many tunes as he could. This turned out to be not only a lifelong quest, but so much fun that a number of friends through the years have tagged along for all or part of this musical odyssey as members of his band Slavadillo. He is also an in-demand accompanist and a member of many other bands, most recently including the 1001 Nights Orchestra and AIO. He has been a performer, recording artist and workshop conductor at festivals and camps all over North America.